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The US authorities have charged the two founders of Back. The accusations include facilitating prostitution and money laundering. Law officers had already taken control of Back's various international classifieds s last week. The lawyer for one of the co-founders said the charges were "baseless" and the seizure of the site a "massive assault" on free speech laws. The Dallas-based company had ly shut down the adult section of its US site, but critics had alleged that sex-related had simply moved to other s.
The UK edition had carried dozens of sex service at the time of its closure, according to Reuters. An investigation by the news agency's philanthropic foundation had suggested that as many as one in 20 of the relevant posts on Back.
Details of the charges had been sealed until Monday by an Arizona court. The documents include details of 17 alleged victims said to have been trafficked via Back, the youngest of whom was 14 years old.
One charity said the site's closure only partially addressed the issue. The Californian authorities had ly attempted to close Back. However, the case was dismissed on the grounds that the US's Communications Decency Act said that publishers should not be held responsible for content created solely by their users. It states that "websites that facilitate traffickers in advertising the sale of unlawful sex acts" should no longer be granted the same protection. It has been reported that President Trump will a Senate-approved version of the act into law this week.
Some sites have already taken counter-measures. Craigslist shut its "personals" dating section last month after reports that it featured several for prostitutes.
Reddit has also closed its escorts message board. And Cityvibe and Nightshift have abandoned their online services altogether. Digital rights advocates have, however, raised concerns, suggesting the new law will "hinder online freedom of expression".
Prostitutes have also raised concern that sites such as Back offered them a safer alternative to trying to find clients on the streets. A Senate investigation had claimed in that Back.
Rather than barring the users who had submitted theit was claimed, they were allowed to resubmit the posts with the restricted terms removed. The site defended itself at the time saying it had spent "thousands of hours and millions of dollars" to help the police tackle the problem, and claimed that its efforts had helped rescue trafficked children and led to the arrest of their pimps.
The site later faced further controversy the same year when the Washington Post reported that one of Back's contractors had attempted to lure sex-related away from rival sites in the Philippines by offering free postings as an incentive. Back denied knowingly having facilitated sex trafficking.
Craigslist drops dating after new law. Back boss says sex charge 'illegal'.
Sex pulled in child prostitutes row. Beyond The Streets. Some of the women are said to have been murdered. New law. Child abuse.
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